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Thread: Type of Wood in a Mosin 91/30

  1. #1
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    Default Type of Wood in a Mosin 91/30

    Just curious as to what type of wood is used in the refurbished solid wood 91/30's being sold now. Were the original (czarist era) stocks walnut?

    Somewhat related question.....what type of wood in the Jap type 38 and 99 stocks?

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    most Russian/soviet stocks, whether M91, M91/30, M38 or M44 are arctic birch, with a few made of beech. Only the American and French contract mosins (Chatellerault, Remington and NEW) had walnut stocks.

    Also, I believe the Japanese rifles had either teakwood or catalpawood stocks.

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    Also some Albanian M91/30s had Acacia stocks.

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    The Japanese stocks are Japanese walnut.

    LB

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    I don't know about the "arctic" part but standard soviet and Russian wood use was and is traditionally birch, and sometimes beech. Sniperfreak is right on about the walnut stocks.

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    Russian birch reportedly was far more stable in very cold conditions than German walnut or other hardwoods, hence more accurate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalin's Ghost View Post
    Russian birch reportedly was far more stable in very cold conditions than German walnut or other hardwoods, hence more accurate.
    Mmmm...not really; They had a lot of it and it was cheap.
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    Here's a source on birch's resistant to warping and cracking in extreme cold, from <mosin-nagant.net> I first heard about the problems with German stocks from a former German Panzer mechanic who actually served at both Moscow and Stalingrad -he said the Mauser stocks often warped and cracked in extreme cold, making the rifles unusable. Of course, lugging them through weeks of mud before they froze probably didn't help!

    Here's the quote form mosin-nagant.net:
    "The design of the m/39 stock is a considerable improvement over previous versions. It is considerably heavier in terms of thickness and durability in the pistol grip area and the forend; both areas were prone to frequent problems of breakage on previous models. The forearm on the new m/39 is considerably thicker due to the forward placement of a new barrel band. This forward placement allowed the forearm to be thickened slightly to add strength. The stock is still of a jointed design, forend spliced to the rear portion using a dovetailed or "finger" type interlocking splice. The original wartime produced stocks utilized a rounded type shape to the fingers in the splice. Later versions on replacement m/39 stocks were of a triangular shape pointed splice used during the transition period post war. This led to the final design of the joint to the square shaped fingers in the splice favored during the later manufacture of the stocks used in replacement and refurbishment of the rifles during the 1960’s and onward. These later two types, the triangular and square joint types are most often found on post war replacement stocks made of Birch (5). The initial production of stocks was made with Arctic birch wood that was resistant to warping or cracking in the extreme cold and temperature fluctuations found in Finland and the surrounding area. Some of the birch stocks can be found with a beautiful burl or pattern in the form of a tiger stripe or swirls in the wood grain."

    I'm going to look in some of Heinz Guderian's writings as I seem to recall that he wrote on gunstocks in cold. An interesting test that could be done cheaply without stock destruction would be to put a Mauser stock and a Mosin stock in a deep-freeze for a few days and then remove the buttplate and measure moisture content with a painter's moisture meter -don't know if there would be a difference, but we could see moisture retention in walnut and birch under extreme cold. We'd need about minus-40 F to simulate some of the temperatures recorded at Moscow that winter...

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    First, Finnish 'arctic' birch and Russian birch are not necessarily the same thing. Russia has tens of thousands (millions?) of acres of birch forests that are well below "arctic" conditions. Notice the difference between the figure in Russian and Finnish stocks. The Finn stocks tend to have much more waviness to the grain than the Russian ones, despite both being birch.

    Cold should not affect a properly-dried stock, no matter what wood it's made of. A season of hard military use might lead to a condition that would be worsened by extreme cold, sure, but it has to get REALLY cold before trees start popping in the woods, and they are FULL of water. Your riflestocks are bone dry by comparison.

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    Interesting stuff. Now aren't the Romanian Mosin stocks a different type of wood? The ones i have seen seem totally unique unto themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skywarp View Post
    First, Finnish 'arctic' birch and Russian birch are not necessarily the same thing. Russia has tens of thousands (millions?) of acres of birch forests that are well below "arctic" conditions. Notice the difference between the figure in Russian and Finnish stocks. The Finn stocks tend to have much more waviness to the grain than the Russian ones, despite both being birch.

    Cold should not affect a properly-dried stock, no matter what wood it's made of. A season of hard military use might lead to a condition that would be worsened by extreme cold, sure, but it has to get REALLY cold before trees start popping in the woods, and they are FULL of water. Your riflestocks are bone dry by comparison.
    You are right on the birch, but I seem to remember a bit of history concerning the stock makers were bothered with shortages.
    One of the reasons they used small pieces of fine figured birch wood (piano wood) in the production of the model 39 stocks. Some mod 39 stocks were 3 piece stocks.

    But like mfg wood studs they are stronger & with less natural twist with mortised joints.

    Here in the states you wil find so called red birch, yellow birch, white birch & Northern birch for sale.

    I see heavy use of the concrete rental forms like Symons use a birch laminate plywood in the extreme-duty concrete forms. It gives you a longer use life per form. They call it a European hardwood about 100 bucks per sheet, that price is 30 years old.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earstyy View Post
    Interesting stuff. Now aren't the Romanian Mosin stocks a different type of wood? The ones i have seen seem totally unique unto themselves.
    Yes, Romanian stocks are usually beech, as are Polish stocks, not sure about Hungarian stocks, but I believe they are beech as well, and Chinese mosin stocks are catalpa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by starsnbars56 View Post

    Somewhat related question.....what type of wood in the Jap type 38 and 99 stocks?
    See http://forums.gunboards.com/showthre...ed-from-Banzai!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeanDallas View Post
    You are right on the birch, but I seem to remember a bit of history concerning the stock makers were bothered with shortages.
    One of the reasons they used small pieces of fine figured birch wood (piano wood) in the production of the model 39 stocks. Some mod 39 stocks were 3 piece stocks.

    But like mfg wood studs they are stronger & with less natural twist with mortised joints.

    Here in the states you wil find so called red birch, yellow birch, white birch & Northern birch for sale.

    I see heavy use of the concrete rental forms like Symons use a birch laminate plywood in the extreme-duty concrete forms. It gives you a longer use life per form. They call it a European hardwood about 100 bucks per sheet, that price is 30 years old.
    I'm sure the Soviets faced wartime wood shortages, but I doubt it was due to a lack of birch trees. Wartime raw material logistics is a sticky mess, especially when the Germans are bombing your trains. The reason why both the Russians/Soviets and the Finns used birch boils down to "because it's what they had, and it works."

    It doesn't have to be any more complicated than that, really... the use of spliced stocks does allow for better strength and warping resistance and allows the use of smaller pieces of wood (more economical). What is notable is that it undoubtedly was more labor-intensive and time-consuming to make two- and three-piece M/39 stocks than it would have been to just make them one piece. If I remember right, however, most Finn stock manufacturers were contraced furniture makers, and it wouldn't surprise me if they were set up for -- and clearly really good at -- that kind of manufacturing (let alone prone to picking nice-looking wood). I doubt, however, that the construction and manufacture of Finnish stocks has anything to do with why birch was used, which is what this discussion has been about.

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    Probably just a happy coincidence but birch is really a good wood for gun stocks. It has good working characteristics, has a higher degree of stability than walnut, and is very strong for weigh. Only downside is that it just doesn't look as nice as walnut, at least in its plainer grades. At work we use a Russian birch plywood in certain applications that need high strength, and I'll tell you what, that is some good stuff!

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnlee View Post
    Probably just a happy coincidence but birch is really a good wood for gun stocks. It has good working characteristics, has a higher degree of stability than walnut, and is very strong for weigh. Only downside is that it just doesn't look as nice as walnut, at least in its plainer grades. At work we use a Russian birch plywood in certain applications that need high strength, and I'll tell you what, that is some good stuff!
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    I have a Tikka 91/30 that has a light wood stock that is solid as a rock. I don't have a clue if its birch or nutwood but it's bat hard-SDH
    Horak Family farm, CZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by sniperfreak View Post
    Yes, Romanian stocks are usually beech, as are Polish stocks, not sure about Hungarian stocks, but I believe they are beech as well,
    I'm still not convinced Romanian M44's are beech. At least mine isnt and the ones i have seen dont look beech at all. I have a Romanian SKS that is definitely beech as well as my Pole M44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Earstyy View Post
    I'm still not convinced Romanian M44's are beech. At least mine isnt and the ones i have seen dont look beech at all. I have a Romanian SKS that is definitely beech as well as my Pole M44
    no experience here with the Romanian M44's, but both my Romanian re-stocked dragoons and my Romanian restocked M91 are definitely beech.

  20. #20

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    Does anybodyknow if the Chinese catalpa is the same as American catalpa? I understand that catalpa is a popular gunstock wood in China, but I have never heard of an American catalpa gunstock. Is catalpa equal to birch or beech for gunstocks, or do the Chinese use it simply because they do not have enough birch, beech, walnut or other wood that is better?

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    I didn't see it mentioned, but the Spanish rebuilt some Mosins using walnut for their stocks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard2 View Post
    Does anybodyknow if the Chinese catalpa is the same as American catalpa? I understand that catalpa is a popular gunstock wood in China, but I have never heard of an American catalpa gunstock. Is catalpa equal to birch or beech for gunstocks, or do the Chinese use it simply because they do not have enough birch, beech, walnut or other wood that is better?
    They're closely related but not the same.

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    My guess is that the wood itself is only one small part of the question....
    It looks like the original stock treatment for Mosins was to use pine tar/BLO mix to seal the wood itself... Pine tar is still used in much of Scandanavia to protect wood from long term moisture and the subsequent freezing.....

    My guess is that the Germans didn't do the same thing - most 98K stocks I have seen were walnut rubbed with oil - and that doesn't seal the wood particularly well.... leading to absorbing water when you sit it in the snow.... which leads to stocks splitting.....

    I suppose the other point would be the design of the stock itself - so that when the wood shrank from the extreme dry of super-cold weather - that it wouldn't bind against the steel and split.... This means a looser fit against metal parts... or maybe using a wood that is otherwise considered "Squishy" like birch....

    I suppose if you lived in a place that saw -80F for 5 months out of the year... you would have such things worked out.... kinda like how if you live in swampy, hot, salty places - you work out ways of keeping metal from rusting and wood from rotting....

    Thanks

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    I am not sure about the wood in a Russian Mosin Nagant, but I saw a Chineese Mosin Nagant that I would swear that the stock was made out of a Walmart pallet!
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    Default Another Wal-Mart Pallet SKS

    Yes, years ago I bought a new "Wal-Mart Pallet" stocked Chinese SKS really cheap -the stock was some kind of spongy softwood that dented like a piece of cake. It is the only military rifle (if you can call it that) that I did a "bubba" number on, immediately installing a new plastic stock and replacing a few internal parts that looked like they hadn't been heat treated after the child-laborers ground them out of recycled tin cans. The rifle worked great after that and twenty years later is still in regular use by the Las Vegas landowner who bought it from me, thousands of rounds fired without a repair.

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    Quote Originally Posted by truckjohn View Post
    My guess is that the wood itself is only one small part of the question....
    It looks like the original stock treatment for Mosins was to use pine tar/BLO mix to seal the wood itself... Pine tar is still used in much of Scandanavia to protect wood from long term moisture and the subsequent freezing.....
    I am relatively certain this is not a correct statement. As least far as I have learned from the experts on this site, shellac has always been the standard finish for a Mosin Nagant. Now if you meant to reference Finnish built rifles you may be correct.

    I'm sure someone more credible than me will chime in on this.
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